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Alexander Seton
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Birth: Oct. 4, 1814
Death: Feb. 26, 1852, At Sea

British Army Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Seton, 74th Highlanders, was the SBO [Senior British Officer] aboard the Royal Navy troopship, HMS Birkenhead, bound for Algoa Bay, Capetown, South Africa. She was a twin-paddled barque-rigged steam frigate, one of the first iron-hulled ships built for the Royal Navy. She was under the commmand of Captain Robert Salmond RN, and embarked Portsmouth carrying troops from ten different regiments to serve in the 8th Xhosa War (then called the "Kaffir War"). The muster rolls went down with the ship and it is not known for certain the number of souls she was carrying on the final leg, but many of the officers had their families with them.Birkenhead hugged the coast and was rarely more than 3 miles from shore. On the night of 26th February 1852, when, off Point Danger, Cape of Good Hope, Birkenhead was holed by rocks to the extent that she would sink within 20 minutes. Lifeboats were lowered but there were insufficient for all those on board. Lieutenant Colonel Seton, his sabre drawn, gave the order for the officers and men to be called to attention on deck. They did not break rank even as Birkenhead sank beneath the waves. It had been feared that in the absence of such an order, the men might make for the lifeboats and swamp them. This incident, in which all the women and children survived, gave rise to the cry, "Remember the Birkenhead!" and the Birkenhead Drill was immortalised in great literary works by the likes of Rudyard Kipling. It wasn't until 1860 that the actual phrase "Women and Children first" was first used, but it followed the intent of Lieutenant Colonel Seton. There were 193 survivors, some of whom swam through shark-infested waters to the shore, but the ship's captain and Lieutenant Colonel Seton perished. The wreck remains designated as a wargrave. Memorials were erected at the Chelsea Royal Hospital, London, at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh and at the lighthouse at Point Danger, and inspired by the bravery displayed that night,Frederick William IV of Prussia ordered an account of the incident to be read at the head of every regiment in his army,

Family links: 
  Alexander Seton (1769 - 1850)
  Janet Skene Ogilvy Seton (1789 - 1858)
  Isabella Seton (1811 - 1845)*
  Ann Seton (1812 - 1812)*
  James Seton (1813 - 1813)*
  Alexander Seton (1814 - 1852)*
  Alexander Seton (1814 - 1852)
  Jessy Jane Seton (1816 - 1831)*
  Jessy Jane Seton (1816 - 1831)*
  William Skene Seton (1821 - 1829)*
*Calculated relationship
Body lost at sea
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: geoffrey gillon
Record added: Jan 19, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83712905
Alexander Seton
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Alexander Seton
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Alexander Seton
Added by: geoffrey gillon
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